All of us remember the recent arguments for the way our economic system should be set up.

Some of it leaked out during the last national election. It was loosely based on a fantasy Ayn Rand novel and its heroic job creators and the worthless takers.

Real simple. Easy to reduce to a mindless mob chant or bumper sticker.

It is similar to President Ronald Reagan’s trickle-down economics that flowed from the Laffer curve drawn on the back of a napkin in a fancy restaurant a few decades ago.

Give rich folks a tax break, give them more money and they will wisely and constructively spend their money and the rest of us will prosper.

Before that it was, let’s see, what was it in 1929, was it just another version of “let them eat cake?”

If it is good for all of us to have a system where the rich get richer and richer and the poor get poorer and the middle class slowly vanishes, then why don’t we go all in and go back to the good ole days when 99 percent were serfs and slaves?

Let’s have a king who has all the wealth, along with some loyal dukes, earls and such and the rest of us can work sun up to sun down and at night wait outside the walled and gated castles to scramble around for the promised crumbs when they trickle down to us. Maybe we are closer to the good ole days than we thought.

Shortly after Francis spent his first night as Pope, he said:

“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.

“This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.

“Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed.”

It appears Pope Francis has trouble locating Ronald Reagan’s trickle-down gospel in the Bible. If you are interested in some more interesting comments about the prevailing economic theories of the rich, then Google either: “Pope Francis and economic justice and blind selfish greed” or “Trickle-down economics and destruction of the economy of Kansas.”

You may also want to pick up Tom Piketty’s recently published 600-plus page “Capital” or skim through Standard & Poor’s 22-page Aug. 5 report “How Increasing Income Inequality Is Dampening U.S. Economic Growth, And Possible Ways To Change The Tide.” S&P’s report can be found at Gulf Coast Interfaith’s website.

It is critical to our survival that workers receive decent wages and we all work together to adopt comprehensive and fair policies to defeat the growing income inequality that is beginning to resemble feudal England.

It is my guess Jesus — and Robin Hood — and most modern economists are in agreement about the real need or value of rich and richer kings.

Steve McIntyre lives in Galveston.

(31) comments

Carlos Ponce

You will notice that Conservatives, Republicans and the like, give MORE to charities than their Liberal friends. Liberals give to political campaigns. Hence President Obama's "fund raising trips".
and read:
"Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism." by
Arthur C. Brooks
Question: Would you ask a poor man for job or a man with money? Those who do not believe in trickle down just aren't standing in the right place.

PD Hyatt

What I have, I have worked for and have always been blessed that I have never had to use one of these programs as we were always taught to live off of what we have and what we make and my family came from a very humble beginnings. While we are not what most would consider rich, we have been blessed by God and have tried to be good stewards of what He has given us.
But since the mid 60's when welfare and other such program were invented to help people by taking from the ones who had the most, to give to the ones who don't have began, do you know how much money we as a nation have put into those programs? Do you know the % of people who were on those programs to begin with and how many are on them now?
The USA taxpayer has spent over 20 trillion dollars on these programs. How much more do you think that we need to spend before enough is enough? I will be the first to exclaim loudly that for some families it has been a life saver and has helped them get back on their feet and become productive again and that is what it should be used for....
At the same time if you were truthful about this, you would also have to admit that there are many who have used these programs for generations to support themselves and their families and it has continued to be used generation after generation. Now we have a problem that we are allowing many from other nations to invade our nation and many of those are now on many of these same programs. We can not take care of our own people and yet we are now feeding and housing many who are not even citizens of our nation. Where does it stop?

While I will be the first to admit that there are "some" who do not pay taxes that are rich. If you were to actually look up who pays the most in taxes in this nation you would retract your article as they pay MOST of the taxes in this nation. Why is it that so many are so jealous of what others have? Some are rich because they worked hard for what they have and others are rich because it was handed down to them. Why are you so jealous of them for that? If we are smart enough, lucky enough and are good stewards of what we have, we all have the same opportunities to climb to the top. Some of us will make it and many will only rise so far. But again, why are so many in this nation so jealous of what others have. Be thankful for what you have and strive to improve your lot in life. Spend wisely and do not spend about what you make, and always save a little for a rainy day, for it does rain from time to time in life....
Why is it that so many think that those who have money should pay a HUGE percentage of their income to taxes? Why do we tax people unequally? Except for the extreme poor why shouldn't we ALL pay the same percentage and make the government live off of what they get instead of always raising our taxes.
Have you asked yourself why so many of our big buisnesses are moving their money overeseas? Could it be because our governemt is taxing them to death compared to the other nations?
Our government is hungry for money because they have spent themselves into a whole that IMHO is impossible to overcome because none of them know how to turn OFF the tap of their favorite spending programs...

J. Shaffer

"Why are you so jealous of them for that? If we are smart enough, lucky enough and are good stewards of what we have, we all have the same opportunities to climb to the top."

This is often offered as a reason not to tax the rich in equal proportion. Protecting them because someday, you too might be rich.

And so we lowered taxes for them. Being rich used to mean paying up to 90% in taxes during the most prosperous times in our country. Now they pay less than 35% and the middle American workers pay the greater burden of the tax load. Capital gains, once taxed at 35% are now taxed at 15%.... and it's certainly helped.

If you were rich before, you are much richer now. If you aren't 800 million dollars richer than last year, then you aren't the 'rich' we are talking about taxing.

Romney agreed when campaigning that he paid an effective tax rate of 14%. Unapologetic, he was going to take legal exemptions that lowered his taxes. And he and other Republicans promised to close those tax loopholes so the rich paid a fairer share. I haven't seen THAT bill in Congress......

If we want to talk about equal taxation, lets start by having the rich pay their share.

Carlos Ponce

".......and the middle American workers pay the greater burden of the tax load...
" This is simply NOT true.

Carlos Ponce

"Romney agreed when campaigning that he paid an effective tax rate of 14%." That was on money in a blind trust that had been re-invested and previously been taxed. "Unapologetic, he was going to take legal exemptions that lowered his taxes." Like every Mormon he contributes 15% to charity. The year you refer to he gave $3,000,000 in charitable donations. Are you saying Nurse Jayne, you want to do away with LEGAL exemptions to church and other charitable organizations? I knew Liberals don't usually give as much as Conservatives but this sounds vindictive.

Jim Forsythe

Everyone can decide where they want to spend their money. If they want it to go to a church, so be it. If we look at apples to apples
we need to use the effective tax rate when talking about taxes. Talking about how much a person will pay in total, does not give a clearer picture.
"On average, each of the 11,445 taxpayers who reported more than $10 million in income would have paid an extra million dollars in taxes if they had faced the same tax rates as the very rich. "($500,000 to $10 million)

Norman Pappous

There is no economic text book that claims "trickle down" as an economic school of thought. It is a media/marketing creation.

FYI - even Paul Krugman claims Reagan used Keynsian style stimulus ....

George Croix

Life can be tough relying on those left wing web sites to 'prove' a point, unless the debate is in fantasy land...[wink]

IRS says:
1. The top 0.1% of US taxpayers paid 18% of all federal income taxes collected.
2. The top 1% of US taxpayers paid 37% of all federal income taxes paid.
3. The top 5% of US taxpayers paid 59% of all federal income taxes paid.
4. The top 10% of US taxpayers paid 71% of all federal income taxes paid.
5. The top 25% of US taxpayers paid 87% of all taxes collected.
6. The top 50% of taxpayers paid almost all taxes collected (98%).
7. The bottom half of taxpayers paid only 2% of all federal income taxes

Fair share?
The top 5% pay more in federal taxes than the bottom 95% combined.
I hope the restaurants never get on the 'fair share' system as defined by the Left, or 5 guests will be buying dinner for 59 people out of 100.

J. Shaffer

I doubt your figures are for the percentage of monies owned or earned. While the rich may pay more than you as a total amount, they pay a lower percentage.

Let's say the 'rich' man has a thousand dollars and pays ten in taxes.

The 'poor' man has ten and pays five.

While the 'rich' man paid more money, he still has $900 while the 'poor' man only has five left.

Which one got the better deal?

George Croix

The poor man got the better deal, Nurse, because he paid HALF as much in TAXES as the other guy. The issue you mention is TAXATION, not comparing bank accounts. Just having money should not be a reason for someone else to take it away, based solely on amount. There should be some consideration for what is being gotten in return.
Why should one guy spend 5 bucks for a cookie and another 5 cents for the same cookie, just because the first guy has more money?
In NO OTHER area of life besides federal income taxes does anyone I know expect those better off to pay more for the same products and services.

BTW, how many other people benefit from that "leftover" 990 bucks, versus the 5 bucks?
Gotta look at the whole picture, not just the left side of the frame....[wink]

The guy with 'extra money' m ight well buy a new lawnmower and thus the hardware store gats some bucks and the mower manufacturer's business share goes up and thus those two guys taxes PAID increases.
Despite what the Professional Dividers say, it's NOT just 'rich vs poor'.
It's benefit to the entire economy and population.
When I'm paying more in taxes than 95% of other people, I figure I'm about 'fair shared' out....[beam][beam][beam]

PD Hyatt

Why is it that so many are jealous that the rich man has more money. What a shame that is. We have given over 20 trillion dollars to the poor since the wealth redistribution started by the demoncrats in the mid 60's.... What has it produced for the USA.... There are far more people now who are on welfare than ever before.... If memory serves me correctly there were around 13% that needed help by the time they got all of them signed up.... Now we are far and above that number.... Not counting SS and SSDI we are well over 35% of the people that are now on welfare, foodstamps etc..... How much is enough.... The rich pay far more in taxes than we in the middle class will ever pay and to say otherwise is just fooling yourself and buying in to the leftist mantra....

J. Shaffer

Sorry, the rich would have $990 left. Math. [tongue]

PD Hyatt

Bravo on your research and facts.... Facts are a horrible thing to bring to an argument and the left hate facts....

George Croix

I forgot to add, I'll forward a copy of this article to President Obama, under whose policies median personal income is down about 2500 bucks or so, the American Middle Class has shrunk dramatically and now comes in second behind Canada (hard to stay middle class with no job, a 29.5 hour part time job, or minimum wage job, and paying 5 grand deductibel before your great new health insurance kicks in) and the poor have gotten poorer and their numbers swelled by formerly lower middle class.
I'm sure he'll make some 'pivots' or 'resets' or maybe 'refocus like a lazer beam' to make it all right by the folks again...

WHAT good does it do to rehash Ronald Reagan who isn't even alive anymore, and ignore the fact that the President we have NOW has done doodley squat to improve the lot of the very people reduced to fighting over a larger share of a smaller pie.
Maybe if instead of excusing the incompetence the Faithful would spend a little time bending POTUS ear and placing some responsibility where it belongs NOW, in 2014, not 1983, he'd get the message.
Unlikely, though, because what the Faithful don't get, or turn a blind eye to, is that their man could care less about their economic plight, because the worse off they are, the better chance to use them against 'the rich' or 'the better off', stoke that envy and class warfare that are hallmarks of 'progressive' politics, and keep his Party as much in power as possible.
Nearly 150 years later, David Hannum is still right....

Jim Forsythe

George look at Effective Tax Rate. Just because Gates pays more than I do doesn't mean I'm not paying my fair share. I can't keep up with the super rich as far as the amount I pay, but can pay my share (ETR)
As far as the bottom not paying anything, my Mother -in- Law pays zero as she does not make enough to pay taxes.
"On average, each of the 11,445 taxpayers who reported more than $10 million in income would have paid an extra million dollars in taxes if they had faced the same tax rates as the very rich. "($500,000 to $10 million) I would be very happy to be one of these that have to pay millions. I would also hire help to reduce my taxes if I was one of the 11,445

Carlos Ponce

Let me get this straight Bigjim. Mitt Romney pays over $3,000,000 in taxes and you consider this less than what you pay because his Effective Tax Rate of 14% is less than yours, right? I think we have a new form of Economics. Let's call it Whodoo Economics. Who pays more than Mitt Romney in Taxes? Who Do? You do, Big Jim! That's right! Whodoo Economics!

Jim Forsythe

All I said it that their is no way for me to pay millions. But ETR for each person can be used to compare what % each is paying. 14 % is about what most people pay. My EFR for last year was a little less than the 14% for Mitt.,but I payed my fair share like Mitt said.
Some years I'm pay more and some I pay less. I'm sure that Mitt is the same. If You have not calculated Your ETR You might be surprised what it is.

Their no way that anyone can compare my sub-millions to the amount that Super rich pay. This is what I pay because of the tax code. If that's what You want changed , that a different thing.

Carlos Ponce

My ETR was 8.4% last year. I was not surprised. I used to teach a math course called Math of Money in which I showed high school students how to do their own taxes. I do my own using 1040 long form. Too bad MOM is no longer offered in Texas.

George Croix

Jim, 'effective tax rate' is just a way of justifying screwing people out of more money for the same thing. It's similar to the 'official unemployment rate' in that it contains figures and sets rates that tell exactly what the politicians want people to think, rather than think for themselves. The unemployemnt RATE does not account for the MANY percentage points more actual unemployed, just as the 'effective tax rate' doesn't account for the MANY more bucks actually paid.
The subterfuge being foisted on a largely foistable populace, and successfully, too, is exactly that - talking about RATE versus talking about VOLUME.
As if having more money means you should have to pay more than another person for the SAME thing. Or LESS
That's how the Dividers got plenty of less than stellar thinkers to fall for that 'Warren Buffet pays less in taxes than his secretary' prevarication, or BS as it might also well be called in East Texas
I'm an LMHS grad, but even I know that a million is more than a hundred, and that a man with 10 million dollars who has to pay 10 bucks for a Diet Coke is getting screwed more than a guy with 10 bucks who pays a dollar for it.
The 'rich' guy paid NINE DOLLARS MORE for the SAME THING.
What the 'fair share' mantra spinners would like all to believe is that having money left after paying taxes doesn't mean you are being 'fair' with your money.
EVEN IF you paid 30 times, or a thousand times, or a million times more than another person.
And, we don't even get a kiss before, well........
Can you, or anyone, name anything else where two people are asked to pay vastly different prices for the same thing, or even one get it for free while the other buys it for him, besides federal income tax, based solely on how much money each person has or makes? AND get badmouthed for not paying even more?
And on top of this, now we have twits...imho...wanting to 'means test' to see if a person who's paid out of pocket for Ss or whatever all their life can get any of it back, or must smile and see it handed over to people who've not worked, or paid in little.
Would ANYONE like that if their bank or credit union told them essenbtially the same thing - you can't have your money in your account, because you have too much money at another bank??
Class 'warfare' and 'class envy' - tools very effectively used by 'progressives' , because it's so easy to do so...

J. Shaffer

"The poor man got the better deal, Nurse, because he paid HALF as much in TAXES as the other guy."

Great that you feel that way, but it rubs the rest of us the wrong way to shoulder the greater responsibility for taxes than they do. Probably because while you keep looking at the pile they gave, we keep looking at the bigger pile they keep.

"BTW, how many other people benefit from that "leftover" 990 bucks, versus the 5 bucks?"

One. Don't try to tell me that lower classes will benefit from the rich paying less taxes, because so far it isn't working.

I know you won't read it, but I'll put it out there, anyway.

Carlos Ponce

Oh Gee, Warren Buffett feels guilty about the amount of taxes he pays. Then Warren needs to give what HE determines is an equitable amount if he feels this is not enough.

George Croix

What about your patients?
Did you means test them before deciding how hard you'd work to help them get well?
Same principal - equal care/pay for equal problems/services...or, should be.

You figure the poor can escape being poor by having the wealthy pay higher taxes? That presumes the reason we have more poor is BECAUSE taxes are not high enough. Isn't it actually because there are fewer good jobs that can lift people out of poverty (for reasons I've enumerated numerous times...), more people willing to stay dependent on government (willing...not forced to by circumstance they can't control...two different thinsg), and millions of low education, low skill 'immigrants' and even school dropouts competing for available jobs, and driving wages down?

I DID read your linked article, so I ask you, are not the people up high talking loudest about the 'fair share' to the masses also 'rich', and determined to stay that way?
If Warren really believes what he's telling YOU, why hasn't he given his money away voluntarilly to the IRS? There's not a single thing keeping him from doing it, except...Warren...
And, for that matter, why eat up rich guy Warren, yet spit out rich guy Mitt?
After all, Warren never ONCE that I can find on record said squat about the fact that he actually paid millions more a year than his Secretary...he just used 'rate' as a wedge issue in support of the 'fair share' talk.
Back in East Texas, that's called talking out of both sides of his mouth.

I may be off a bit on it, but if memory serves, as of a couple of years ago, if the IRS taxed ALL income over 1 Million bucks at 100%, take every dime over 1 million, that would net the feds about 700 billion bucks, or enough to pay for about 10 weeks of federal spending.
Take it ALL over a million from thsoe rich SOB's, and 10 weeks from now (back then) you're already out fo money. will that lift people out of poverty...?

Now, you read mine:

[beam] enjoy...

PD Hyatt

Why is it that we now have so many leftists crying about what others have.... Why have we as a nation become such criers over what other people have accomplished.... Look around and there are MANY in this nation that wish that they had what you have in life.... If you would further look around the world you would see billions of people who would love to have what we the average Joe or Jane have in our lives. The left has pushed its agenda of dividing this nation by class, by race, by the different sexes and by the LGBT bs.... Our nation USED to stand as one and what a shame that the left has succeeded in dividing our nation to the point that many can not see that they are blessed and highly favored.... Sure there will ALWAYS be some that will be above you and we should never covet what they have. As for taxation, the rich pay the majority of the bills and many times they get tax breaks because the Senators and the Congress critters wrote those tax breaks in to the law, not for the rich, they voted them in for themselves as they have become very rich while they have been in office.... What is amazing is that then the demoncrats who are in office use the leftist mantra about dividing this nation to take the heat off of themselves.... What is sad is that it is working so well for them and our president....

J. Shaffer

I don't think it's the left dividing the nation.

There are those who would love to segregate us by color or race, who say benefits that they enjoy should be denied to others because they disapprove of that person's lifestyle.

The left says that we should all be treated fairly and not discriminated against.

George Croix

Nurse, have you LISTENED to any of President Obama's speaches?
While not alone in it, he's the Honcho...sets the tone...
He can't give one without being divisive, and usually does so a sentence or two after calling for unity and working together....telling us a lot about character.
Can't fix that....

Yes, your last sentence IS what the left SAYS.
I await the time they put deed to word....
Such as, the time when your skin color decides if you get a job or get into college, or your sexual orientation or race decides whether a punch in your face is more important than a punch in someone elses, or everyone pays the same price for the same thing and not some a lot more....etc.

Jim Forsythe

Reply to paul-hyatt posted at 6:52 am on Tue, Aug 12, 2014

Paul, this is what I found at

Total number of Americans on welfare 12,800,000
Total number of Americans on food stamps 46,700,000
Total number of Americans on unemployment insurance 5,600,000
Percent of the US population on welfare 4.1 %

"A low-wage job supplemented with food stamps is becoming more common for the working poor," said Timothy Smeeding, an economics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who specializes in income inequality. "Many of the U.S. jobs now being created are low- or minimum-wage -- part-time or in areas such as retail or fast food -- which means food stamp use will stay high for some time, even after unemployment improves."
Some sites say over 50% of people on food stamps are working.

PD Hyatt

It is amazing that when I was a boy growing up we had no food stamps and we were considered very poor, yet we ate every meal.... We grew much of our own food and canned it for the winter.... There were many winters if it had not been for squirrels, rabbits and a deer every now and then we would not have had meat, which there were times that was the case.... Mom, made most of our clothes and I as the youngest was very used to wearing hand me downs.... Shoes we were blessed to be able to buy 1 pair for school and church and had to be polished every week, and we wore hand me down shoes for play shoes....
Now it seems as if we have become used to government handouts and we no longer know how to feed and take care of ourselves even when we are poor....
I do wonder now as I have got older what this country is going to do when our government HAS to cut back, because the rest of the world stops lending us money, as our government is technically bankrupt and our liabilities far exceed our abilities to pay them and most do not understand this, realize it, or really care as long as they are getting their payout....
We no longer have the work ethic we used to have and we no longer it seems, to have the back bone or the will to do it on our own.... The moment times get hard we stick our hands out and demand that we get something that we didn't work for.... Now there are generattions of people that have not worked and have lived off of others....I have no problem helping and paying taxes for the TRULY needy.... The others, well that is a different story....
BTW, there are now over 47% of the people (that includes SS) who now depend upon the government for something.... We are going to get to the point of now return if we do not get more people paying into the system and not drawing off of the system.... Once we cross over 50% I wonder how long it will be before it all starts to collapse....

Carlos Ponce

"Almost Half of US Population Dependent on Welfare-A new census has revealed that nearly half of the U.S. population lives in a household that receives government benefits."

Lars Faltskog

Response to paul-hyatt posted at 7:15 am on Tue, Aug 12, 2014:

Paul hyatt - You seem to have an issue with your self-minded categorization of "the left". As though this "left" are either: 1. poor, 2. minority, 3. LGBT, 4. lazy.

Which of the above do you take issue with the most? If you met up with an LGBT individual who made his/her own living and believed in the good Lord, would you "approve" of this person, even though he/she is still one of those "left" people of whom you believe who have ruined this country? How about a poor and disabled individual who simply cannot work to pay the bills? Does this individual automatically move to the "left" side of the abacus in your mind?

PD Hyatt

You are one confused individual and love to make up stuff to suit your agenda and as usual never understand anything that is posted that does not go with your twisted leftist agenda....How in the world did you bring in minority and LGBT issues into this except for your twisted leftist agenda that you always bring to the table....If you were truthful about it and I know you will not be, you would acknowledge that the amount of people on welfare has grown hugely since its inception back in the 60's as the labor participation rate has dropped mightly since 2008.....
BTW, I am totaly disabled and have not been able to work for the last 3 1/2 years.... Other than my SS that I paid into for 44 years and expect for it to stop one day in the near future thanks to the mismangement of our government, I do take care of myself by the grace of God........

Lars Faltskog

Response to paul-hyatt posted at 7:42 am on Wed, Aug 13, 2014:

Well, you mentioned the "LGBT 'bs'" in your 7:15 am on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 post, along with "class", "race" brought it up.

You do seem embittered in that there has been progress in regard to the non-whites and gay/lesbian sectors. Why? BTW...most LGBT people are financially sound (many quite affluent)...they are not (as a group) responsible for the "huge growing welfare" since the 60s that you lament about.

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